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Published byBailey Pearson
Modified over 2 years ago
ILLUSTRATION BY Mike Luckevich The Atlanta Constitution
Text From We'll go forward from this moment BY LEONARD PITTS JR. The Miami Herald Wednesday, September 12, 2001
Its my job to have something to say. They pay me to provide words that help make sense of that which troubles the American soul. PRESENTATION BY ED MILLER
But in this moment of airless shock
when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes,
the only thing I can find to say,
the only words that seem to fit,
must be addressed to the unknown author of this suffering.
You unspeakable bastard.
What lesson did you hope to teach us by your cowards attack on our World Trade Center,
What was it you hoped we would learn? PRESENTATION BY ED MILLER
Whatever it was, please know that you failed.
Did you want us to respect your cause?
You just damned your cause.
Did you want to make us fear?
You just steeled our resolve.
Did you want to tear us apart?
You just brought us together.
Let me tell you about my people.
We are a vast and quarrelsome family,
a family rent by racial, social, political and class division,
but a family nonetheless.
peace-loving and compassionate. We are fundamentally decent...
We struggle to know the right thing and to do it.
And we are, the overwhelming majority of us, people of faith... believers in a just and loving God.
Some people -- you, perhaps -- think that any or all of this makes us weak.
Youre mistaken. We are not weak.
Indeed, we are strong in ways that cannot be measured by arsenals.
Yes, were in pain now... We are in mourning and we are in shock.
Were still grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did.
Both in terms of the awful scope of their ambition... and the probable final death toll,
your attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of terrorism... in the history of the United States, and, probably, the world.
Youve bloodied us like we have never been bloodied before.
But there is a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making us fall.
This is the lesson Japan was taught to its bitter sorrow the last time anyone hit us this hard,
the last time anyone brought us such abrupt and monumental pain.
When roused, we are righteous in our outrage, terrible in our force.
When provoked by this level of barbarism... We will bear any suffering,
pay any cost... go to any length,
in the pursuit of justice.
I tell you this without fear of contradiction... I know my people, as you, I think, do not.
What I know reassures me... It also causes me to tremble with dread of the future.
Well go forward from this moment... sobered, chastened, sad.
But determined, too. Unimaginably determined.
As Americans we will weep... as Americans we will mourn,
and as Americans, we will rise in defense of all that we cherish.
So I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us?
It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred.
If thats the case, consider the message received.
And take this message in exchange:
You dont know my people.
You dont know what were capable of.
You dont know what you just started.
But youre about to learn.
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